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Archive for the ‘Design Elements’ Category

Balance, harmony, emphasis, unity, scale, line, form, texture.

 

 

Whether one is designing a garden, a living room, or a marketing piece, adhering to the fundamental principles of good design can make a difference in finished product “working” or “not working” In the garden, the canvas is ever changing. Seasonal differences, plant growth, and human interaction, all combine to create challenges for the designer, and reinforce the need to rely on a set of basic elements to achieve success.

 

This month our designers offer their thoughts on Design Principles. Follow the links below to see what they have to say!

 

Jocelyn Chilvers : The Art Garden : Denver, CO

David Cristiani : It’s A Dry Heat : Albuquerque, NM

Mary Gallagher Gray : Black Walnut Dispatch : Washington, D.C.

Lesley Hegarty & Robert Webber : Hegarty Webber Partnership : Bristol, UK

Douglas Owens-Pike : Energyscapes : Minneapolis, MN

Susan Cohan : Miss Rumphius’ Rules : Chatham, NJ

 

 

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Enclosure vs. Exposure

To enclose or not to enclose, that is the question…

With all apologies to The Bard, today on Garden Designers Roundtable, our designers offer their thoughts on whether to enclosure a space, and create intimacy and security, or to expose a space and borrow from the surrounding landscape, possibly creating a sense of awe.

Which would you prefer for you little corner of the earth? Follow the links below to see what our experts say then let us know!

 

Lesley Hegarty & Robert Webber : Hegarty Webber Partnership : Bristol, UK

Jocelyn Chilvers : The Art Garden : Denver, CO

Douglas Owens-Pike : Energyscapes : Minneapolis, MN

 

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"Scott Hokunson" "Garden Designers Roundtable"

A simple detail, an object left in a doorway, creates this garden vignette!

It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.

… John Wooden

 

God is in the details.

… Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

 

Details create the big picture.
… Sanford I. Weill

 

Success is the sum of details.

… Harvey S. Firestone

 

Details matter, it’s worth waiting to get it right.

                … Steve Jobs

 

There’s no escaping the notion that, to get something right you have to pay attention to the simplest of details. As witnessed above, by some very successful people, the worth of the final product rests in the effort to successfully master each part of the whole, to focus on the details.

What does this mean for the garden design process, or a new landscape? A focus on the details in the design process might show in many forms; as a unified color scheme, or the perfect accoutrements in an outdoor dining area, as an abstract piece of art that anchors the design, or in the perfect groundcover choice to complement stones in a garden pathway. A focus on the details might also show in how a designer has thoughtfully tended to each of her clients needs, or how a designer has addressed every one of his client’s concerns. Orchestrating the symphony of contractors needed to complete a project on time and under budget, are details that should always capture the designers focus, thereby leaving the client simply to enjoy the newly created space.

When you pause to enjoy a beautiful garden and find yourself lost within its balance and complexity, and you feel, without at first knowing why, that everything just seems to work, look a little closer.  You’ll find that someone brought all the elements of the garden together, by focusing on the details.

Our designers are focusing on the details this month; follow the links below to see how!

Susan Cohan : Miss Rumphius’ Rules : Chatham, NJ

Lesley Hegarty & Robert Webber : Hegarty Webber Partnership : Bristol, UK

Deborah Silver : Dirt Simple : Detroit, MI

Debbie Roberts : A Garden of Possibilities : Stamford, CT

Christina Salwitz : Personal Garden Coach : Renton, WA

Scott Hokunson : Blue Heron Landscapes : Granby, CT

Rebecca Sweet : Gossip In The Garden : Los Altos, CA

 

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Do native plants, and the wildlife that depend on them, have a place in our landscapes? More and more, professional designers are answering with a resounding “yes!” Setting aside the question of aesthetics for a moment, there’s a clear need for people to replace their resource-hogging lawns and may-as-well-be-plastic exotics with something that their local birds, butterflies and bees can use as food and habitat.

According to the US government, 41% of our land is being used for production agriculture (which is not beneficial to wildlife), and all but 5% of the remaining area of land is now a mix of urban, suburban, and industrial landscapes. We think of “nature” as existing somewhere out there, but the amount of area we leave for nature is shrinking rapidly due to our need for food and housing. If we care at all about preserving the species that share our world, we need to step up and help. Planting wildlife-supporting native plants is one of the simplest ways of doing that.

Of course, landscaping is something we do to express ourselves artistically and create a place where we enjoy spending time. Few designers like the idea of limiting their palette to only natives, and rightly so. An artist’s palette benefits from the addition of differing colors, textures, and styles of plant.

However, landscaping with natives brings a variety of benefits. Not only does it attract wildlife, which brings us a sense of awe and connection to our gardens, but planting our region’s natives is a way of celebrating the unique character of the places we each live. Have you ever visited a new location, and realized there was nothing at all to distinguish it from home? The same strip malls, chain stores, and Berberis-and-daylily planting schemes that bore us at home, followed us to our new location.

Planting natives is a way of creating a regionally-distinct identity, reminding yourself why you live where you do, and remembering what’s special about your exact place in the world. While nobody’s telling you to back away from the bulb catalogs, why not challenge yourself to learn more about your region’s plants, and start adding them to your palette as well? Let’s flip the lawn-dominated, no-character landscape paradigm on its head and begin planting landscapes with a little more meaning.

How are professional designers working with natives? Read this month’s Garden Designers Roundtable posts to get ideas and inspiration for your own landscape.

Thomas Rainer : Grounded Design : Washington, D.C.

David Cristiani : The Desert Edge : Albuquerque, NM

Susan Morrison : Blue Planet Garden Blog : East Bay, CA

Rebecca Sweet : Gossip In The Garden : Los Altos, CA

Pam Penick : Digging : Austin, TX

Mary Gallagher Gray : Black Walnut Dispatch : Washington, D.C.

Lesley Hegarty & Robert Webber : Hegarty Webber Partnership : Bristol, UK

Genevieve Schmidt : North Coast Gardening : Arcata, CA

Douglas Owens-Pike : Energyscapes : Minneapolis, MN

Debbie Roberts : A Garden of Possibilities : Stamford, CT

Scott Hokunson : Blue Heron Landscapes : Granby, CT

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Texture!

Texture is a very small and compact word that refers to a very dynamic and fluid element of design.  Strictly speaking, texture refers to the nature and quality of a surface.  In a garden, this might refer to bold leaves, as in Gunnera, Rodgersia, Ligularia or Butterbur, as opposed to the tiny leaves of boxwood, or thyme.  It refers to the hairy leaves of Tibouchina, and the open surface of great soil.   It might refer to that puffy and fleeting natural circumstance we know as cumulus clouds.  It might refer to a thinly woven fabric of a garden umbrella.  It might refer to that fluid and sparkling surface we know as water.  It may refer to the craggy surface of stone.  It may refer to wood planed smooth, as in garden furniture.  Texture refers to a surface, a surface you can feel, a surface you can see, a surface you can touch, and a surface you can taste.

Texture engages virtually all of the senses.  The qualities of the surface we recognize as stone are vastly different that the soft texture of a field of grass. You either like raw oysters, okra, or beef-or not.  How does your garden taste?  How do your garden surfaces engage the eye?  Natural surfaces are infinite in their variety.  The choices are infinite.  Make sure your design sense includes an appreciation and consideration of the quality of the surface, the texture.

Texture engages, and holds, the eye.  Texture gives a set of fingers a reason to be.   Texture leaves a strong taste. Read on to see how every designer associated with the Roundtable in this June post interprets texture.

Enjoy,

Deborah Silver

Thomas Rainer : Grounded Design : Washington, D.C.

Rebecca Sweet : Gossip In The Garden : Los Altos, CA

Pam Penick : Digging : Austin, TX

Lesley Hegarty & Robert Webber : Hegarty Webber Partnership : Bristol, UK

Douglas Owens-Pike : Energyscapes : Minneapolis, MN

Deborah Silver : Dirt Simple : Detroit, MI

David Cristiani : The Desert Edge : Albuquerque, NM

Christina Salwitz : Personal Garden Coach : Renton, WA

Andrew Keys : Garden Smackdown : Boston, MA

Rochelle Greayer : Studio G : Boston, MA

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Everyone likes to make a good first impression. We play up our positive attributes and control our annoying quirks in order to impress others in that crucial first three seconds of meeting.  According to an article in Psychology Today, “Our brains form first impressions by creating a composite of all the signals given off by a new experience.”

From a real estate perspective, a good first impression – or “curb appeal” – is all about using your landscape to enhance the appearance of your home. Does the landscape echo the style of your home’s architecture?  Does it meet or exceed the standards set by the neighborhood? Is it well maintained? The landscape is like the neatly pressed suit and polished shoes that are among the basic signals given off at  a first meeting.

More important, however, is not what the landscape says about your house, but what it says about you.  Is it welcoming? Is it engaging? Is it quiet and elegant, or colorful and gregarious?  Expressing yourself in the publicly viewed part of your landscape is like offering a heart-felt smile at a first meeting; the signal that we look for specifically because (it) “… lets us know that we’re likely to get a positive reception.”

Creating a great first impression from the front curb (or kerb as our British friends prefer) can set the tone for your entire landscape.

Please join the Roundtable bloggers today as we explore the best of First Impressions:

Lesley Hegarty & Robert Webber : Hegarty Webber Partnership : Bristol, UK

Jocelyn Chilvers : The Art Garden : Denver, CO

Debbie Roberts : A Garden of Possibilities : Stamford, CT

Susan Morrison : Blue Planet Garden Blog : East Bay, CA

Christina Salwitz : Personal Garden Coach : Renton, WA

Shirley Bovshow : Eden Makers : Los Angeles, CA

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Quite a few years ago at a conference for the Connecticut Nurserymen’s Association, I sat in on a talk by a local landscape architect who’s topic was “Deer-Proof plants”. Slide after slide he would tell the audience “this particular plant has shown great resistance to deer” or “deer won’t eat this because…”, and slide after slide some member of the audience would raise their hand and say “the deer eat that in my garden”. The poor guy never stood a chance.

Deer have become a major problem in the landscape, and the reasons for the increase in deer damage range from development encroaching on their territory to populations thriving on the lush banquet our gardens provide for them. Whatever the reason, choosing the right plant for the right place no longer guarantees success in the garden, you must also ask “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?”

This month on the Roundtable, our designers discuss, “Gardening with Deer”. Follow the links below and find out how they deal with their uninvited “guests”!

Lesley Hegarty & Robert Webber : Hegarty Webber Partnership : Bristol, UK

Genevieve Schmidt : North Coast Gardening : Arcata, CA

Pam Penick : Digging : Austin, TX

Douglas Owens-Pike : Energyscapes : Minneapolis, MN

Christina Salwitz : Personal Garden Coach : Renton, WA

Susan Morrison : Blue Planet Garden Blog : East Bay, CA

Debbie Roberts : A Garden of Possibilities : Stamford, CT

Rebecca Sweet : Gossip In The Garden : Los Altos, CA

Tara Dilliard : Vanishing Threshold: Garden, Life, Home : Atlanta, GA

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